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Win Over an Opponent by Asking for Advice

Asking for advice might seem like a sign of weakness to some, but in reality, seeking the guidance of others can be one of the single greatest boosters of your career success. Katie Liljenquist and Adam Galinsky write for the Harvard Business Review about how dramatic a change asking for advice can make. This is definitely a case of the little things making a big difference.

Three Reasons Why You Should Ask Advice

  1. Advisors will like you more.
  2. Advisors are able to see things from your perspective.
  3. Advisors become a champion for your cause.

Asking people for advice is flattering, because it means you value their opinions. Your superiors will be pleased that you appreciate their elder wisdom, whereas your subordinates will feel like their input really matters if you ask them for their two cents. In either case, coworkers will like and appreciate you more, which in itself is good for your career. Liljenquist provides an excellent example of putting this theory into practice:

One of us (Katie) recently put this to the test while dealing with a real estate transaction. After several phone calls to indifferent or discouraging county officials, Katie visited the Planning and Zoning office in person. Rather than pester the official with what would and wouldn’t be permissible, Katie asked for her advice on how she would handle the constraints. The official provided a bounty of insider information and guidance that Katie never would’ve obtained on her own…Katie’s humble request for the official’s expertise was revitalizing [for the official], and she in turn helped Katie deftly navigate what otherwise would’ve been a very difficult situation.

This scenario makes good sense, because asking for advice requires that person to look at things from your perspective. When you share your vision, the odds of finding creative solutions in negotiations increase. Asking advice even has the power to make bosses improve their opinion of employees who were previously thought to be underperforming.

In the best cases, asking advice of opponents can actually win them over to your side. This is because giving their advice means they have made an investment in you, which inclines them to want to advocate for you. Whether in business or in life in general, asking advice just seems to foster a degree of collaboration that otherwise might be impossible to obtain. As long as your solicitations are sincere, advice could take you a long way.

You can read the original post here: http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/06/win-over-an-opponent-by-asking-for-advice/

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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